Mars has a daytime temperature of 73 ºF, but a nighttime temperature of -100 ºF. Nearly 95% of the martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide, and the planet is constantly exposed to intense radiation. So why are humans so eager to go to Mars, and how would we ever make it habitable?
A ring of antimatter, more specifically antiprotons, has been recently discovered around the Earth. Since antiprotons are charged sub-atomic particles, they are confined by the planet's magnetic field lines.
Unlike conventional rockets, launch loops can have many launches per hour, independent of weather, and are not inherently polluting. Rockets create pollution such as nitrates in their exhausts due to high exhaust temperature, and can also create greenhouse gases depending on propellant choices. Launch loops require power in the form of electricity and as such it can be clean.
A launch loop (also known as a Lofstrom loop) is a proposed design for a very efficient non-rocket spacelaunch method. It is a much simpler concept than the space elevator, but still more complex than tether propulsion systems such as the rotovator.
This is the fourth and final part of the tether propulsion article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the tether propulsion concept in fiction. The most prominent science fiction novels on the subject include the following.
The use of tethers in space poses many challenges and safety issues. This third part to the tether propulsion article will focus on those issues. A lot of the challenges and safety issues of a space tether system are similar to those of a space elevator described in a previous article, but some are unique to the space tether concept.
Tether propulsion consists in using long, very strong cables (known as tethers) to change the velocity of spacecraft and payloads. The tethers may be used to initiate launch, complete launch, or alter the orbit of a spacecraft. This form of propulsion would be significantly less expensive than spaceflight using modern rocket engines.
This is the fourth and final part of the space elevator article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the space elevator concept in fiction. The first mention of anything remotely similar to a space elevator was the beanstalk in the children's fairy tale called Jack and the Beanstalk, published in 1807.
Space elevators, a futuristic concept, could be adapted for various celestial bodies: Mars, the Moon, and even asteroids, they promise a revolution in space access.
The space elevator is a gigantic concept and as such it has many safety issues that would have to be resolved before construction begins. A space elevator would present a navigational hazard, both to aircraft and spacecraft.
Why non-rocket spacelaunch? Because the current chemical rockets are really expensive. In order to further explore outer space and establish a permanent human presence in space we need more cost efficient spacelaunch methods.
Some time ago, I posted an image of the Copernicus Crater for the Astronomy Picture of the Week. Now I stumbled upon an amazing painting by Marshal T. Savage depicting his vision of a future colony on the Moon. It’s the same Copernicus Crater, except it’s domed over and terraformed to create an ecosphere. At first I thought that this was really cool, but it would be impossible to build such a gigantic structure. (The crater has a diameter of 93 kilometers!) However after giving it some thought I changed my mind. If it was built with a material strong enough like carbon nanotubes, it could in theory be built. While…